Rampaging Rams rolling into bye week


Associated Press

LOS ANGELES

Just like everybody fortunate enough to be at the Coliseum on Monday night, Sean McVay was still buzzing when he left the building after the Los Angeles Rams’ epic victory over Kansas City.

When he finally reached his suburban home, the coach wasn’t ready to lose that feeling. Instead, McVay and some friends kicked off the Rams’ bye week by watching highlights of Los Angeles’ 54-51 win deep into the night.

“I was pretty wired, man,” McVay said Tuesday afternoon, about 21 hours after kickoff. “I would say right now is about the first time I’m starting to wind down and to be able to take a nap hopefully here soon.”

McVay and the Rams have absolutely earned their sleep.

Los Angeles (10-1) is this season’s first team to reach double digits in victories after holding off the Chiefs in a game that featured so many eye-popping digits: a 14-touchdown, 105-point, 1,001-yard masterpiece of pure entertainment.

The third highest-scoring game in league history was the latest peak in the Rams’ two-year transformation under McVay, whose staff has put this long-downtrodden franchise in position to clinch its first back-to-back division titles since the 1970s as soon as this weekend if Carolina beats Seattle.

The win over Kansas City also was the culmination of two difficult weeks for the organization and its city.

Players, coaches and team employees were forced from their homes by wildfires two weeks ago while many were still reeling from a mass shooting near their training complex in Thousand Oaks. The Rams then spent the previous week on the road in Colorado Springs to train for the high altitudes of Mexico City — only to have the Monday night game moved back home to LA on six days’ notice.

“I think the players did an outstanding job of handling what seems like two weeks that was about two years’ worth of things that they had to go through,” McVay said. “All they did was just handle it like pros and do everything the right way that makes you appreciative of just being able to work with people like this.”

The final snap against Kansas City felt like closure to the players who persevered through this two-week stretch. McVay and the Rams now get a holiday week to contemplate what they’ve accomplished and how far they’ve still got to go.

Because for all their success, McVay knows the Rams have ample room for improvement.

McVay and his staff will use part of their bye week to study this triumph over the Chiefs, likely turning a critical eye on ways to help a defense that relied on big plays to survive this thriller. Kansas City outgained Los Angeles 546-455 with six touchdown passes by Patrick Mahomes.

The Rams are desperately looking forward to the probable post-bye return of standout cornerback Aqib Talib. They were also happy to get contributions from surprising defensive sources in an otherwise offense-dominated night.

Samson Ebukam, the Rams’ unsung second-year outside linebacker, might have been the most important player on the field against the Chiefs. Ebukam returned a fumble forced by Aaron Donald for a touchdown, made a preposterous one-armed interception and returned it for another TD, and finally pressured Mahomes just enough to impede his throwing motion on a pass subsequently intercepted by Rams teammate Marcus Peters with 1:18 left.

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